Thursday, 18 January 2018

Handmaidens.

Donald Trump’s latest proposed law will permit any medic in the United States to refuse to treat someone they believe to be lesbian, gay, bi or trans. The consequences of this homophobic and transphobic law will be random deaths of LGBT people if they are unlucky enough to get a homophobic or transphobic ambulance driver or paramedic following a car crash or any other kind of accident. People will die as a result of this. Whether this provision will also apply to children is unclear.

Think I’m overreacting, scaremongering…? Google Tyra Hunter, a trans woman of colour who died on 7th August 1995 following a car accident after medics at DC General Hospital in Washington refused her treatment because she was trans. These people, who were supposed to save lives, literally just let her die. Those who think that progress is linear need to re-examine history. 

"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable..." 
Martin Luther King

The most liberal and tolerant regime that has ever existed in history for lesbians and gay men was the Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1920s and early 30s. Yet many of those who enjoyed freedom and tolerance in the 1920s ended up dying horrific deaths in the concentration camps of the 1930s. So we cannot take freedom and tolerance for any minority group for granted, and, as Trump’s homophobia and transphobia has shown, no matter how comfortable we have become, threats to minorities have not gone away.


Which makes the action of transphobic groups like A Woman’s Place even more dangerous. Their ultimate aim; the erasure and eradication from UK society of trans people in general, and trans children in particular. This involves  a clear attempt to provoke a review of the Equality Act with the intention of removing trans people's human rights under the dishonest and entirely unevidenced claim that trans people are a threat to women. However those on
the extreme right, like Jacob Rees-Mogg, David TC Davies, Rupert Murdoch and the extreme neoliberal press like the Mail and the Times, have other ideas. Anyone who seriously thinks that a review of the Equality Act would stop at “only” removing rights from trans people needs to get real. These are people who would dearly love to remove protections from lesbian gay and bisexual people too, as well as being very vocal about removing protections for other groups including disabled people, and even for some women. Their neoliberal ideology does not sit well with making “reasonable” adjustments for disabled people, or holding jobs open for women taking time off to have children, for example. You do not have to look far to find them advocating the removal of this “red tape” on businesses. The sudden upswing in cis men using the transphobes’ hate-fund-raiser to reopen the entire debate about whether all-women shortlists should exist at all, demonstrates how their blind hate could end up having negative consequences for all women.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that the advocates of transphobia, complicit in the deluge of trans-hate coming from the neoliberal media, have become so blinded by their fanatical hate that they cannot see the dangers their actions to other minority groups. Having the same aim, and adopting the same methods, as Donald Trump, A Woman’s Place is not merely a threat to trans people but also a threat to many others also. 


And the winners from all this? The extreme right-wing neoliberal patriarchy, feeding off the distortions and divisions groups like AWP are creating. 

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